Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)



Thumbnail image for our Stopping the Dog tutorials video. The sheep are in the training ring, and Andy is walking towards sheepdog Dulcie.

Teach your dog to stop well on command (three part tutorial).

The three completely revised tutorials delve into the thorny issue of getting your dog to stop, in much more detail than the earlier versions.

They explain why your dog doesn't want to stop, and what you can do to make it more likely that the dog will heed your stop command when you give it. Part three takes a close look at how you can get a good stop on your dog without damaging its confidence.

The videos encourage you to look closely at your relationship with your dog, especially the amount of respect the dog has for you as its leader, and whether your actions might be making the dog more excited.

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How Can I Slow The Dog Down?



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Things you can do to make your dog work more controllably

Probably the most common question we get asked about sheepdog training is how to slow the dog down.

Of course, there's no "quick fix" for getting a keen dog to work at a steadier pace, but this tutorial takes an in-depth look at the reasons why dogs work very fast, and suggests ways to avoid or minimise them.

Once you can get your dog to work more steadily, you're well on the way to getting it trained as a useful sheep or cattle dog

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Starting a non starter (Parts 1 and 2)



Photo of a border collie clambering through a fence to get away from the sheep in the background

If your dog won't work, we can help you to change its mind!

It's very disappointing to find that your dog doesn't seem to want to work sheep or cattle, but it doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to change its mind. As with most aspects of training dogs to work stock, if you understand what's happening and why, there's a much better chance of putting things right.

In these two tutorials, we look closely at why some dogs want to work and others don't. Then we look at several proven ways of triggering the dog's work instinct.

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Starting a reluctant dog



Close up photo of Maisie, the dog used in this herding sheepdog training tutorial

Help boost your dog's confidence to start working sheep

Most dogs are over-excited when they first encounter sheep and it's up to the trainer to do their best to protect the stock. Occasionally though the dog takes no interest in the stock at all.

In this tutorial, Maisie shows no interest in sheep at first, but once the hunting instinct kicks-in, despite being a sensitive dog, she's aggressive with them.

Our video demonstrates how to limit the pressure applied by your control measures, while at the same time encouraging the dog to work.

It also shows a good example of how to get a dog to flank both ways around the sheep when the dog prefers to flank in one direction only.

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Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways



The importance of teaching your dog to go both ways round the stock

Just as most humans are left or right-handed, the majority of herding dogs favour working in one direction over another.

Often, sheep and cattle dog handlers are not bothered if their dog will only go in one direction to gather the stock, as long as it brings them successfully.

This video demonstrates the importance of training your dog to work fluently whichever way the handler sends it.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 8)



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Scylla makes good progress

When a dog's proving slow to train, it's particularly important to be able to recognise the areas where progress is being made, and to communicate approval and encouragement to the dog when it's work is improved, even if it's not fully up to the standard you aspire to.

It's through such guidance that the dog learns more quickly what pleases the handler and what doesn't.

Part eight of the Bronwen and Scylla training comparison focuses on Scylla and points out the areas of her work which deserve praise and encouragement, as well as those which are still a long way below par.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7) – Going too Wide



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Bronwen's flanking far too wide

In part seven, of our Bronwen and Scylla comparison, we focus entirely on Bronwen. Although she's far more advanced and reliable than her sister, Scylla, she's developed the all-too common problem of running much too wide when she goes round the stock.

When a dog works too far back from sheep or cattle the stock quickly learn that the dog's not in a position to control them, and they're likely to run away.

The video shows that being firm, but patient, with the errant dog, and using practical work to show the dog that it needs to be in control, will help to stop the dog casting out too wide.

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Use a reward to get training on board



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Odo doesn't want to get in the car!

Working dogs have a huge capacity for learning, but in order to learn things that we want them to do, there must be some reward in it for them.

Fortunately, one of the greatest rewards you can give a sheep or cattle dog is to allow it to work the stock.

This is obviously a great help when we train a dog to work livestock, but in this tutorial Andy uses the reward of working sheep to get Odo, who is terrified of going in a vehicle, to jump in and go for a ride!

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